This time of year, I struggle with the balance of reading for pleasure and reading/grading for my students. This hurts my heart because it is imperative that we take care of our minds, our bodies, and our souls.
While struggling to find time for pleasure reading, there are times when sacrifices must be made. This novel was one of those times when I made the sacrifice. For this novel, I put it all aside, grabbed a blanket, a cup of coffee, and read.
I do not regret putting off everything to do this - not even a little.
Author: Michelle Hodkin
Source: personal copy purchased from B&N
Available: NOW at your local bookstore and library
Summary (from the book jacket):
Mara Dyer once believed she could run from her past. She can’t.
She used to think her problems were all in her head. They aren’t.
She couldn’t imagine that after everything she’s been through, the boy she loves would still be keeping secrets. She’s wrong.
In the gripping sequel to The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, the truth evolves and choices prove deadly. What will become of Mara Dyer next?
I could not put this book down – I chose this over scoring essays. Of course, I think most of us would make the same decision, reading over grading, but still. Those essays were haunting me, but there was no way I was NOT finishing this book. It was that good.
Hodkin does not disappoint with this continuation in Mara’s story. Hodkin left a gasp-inducing cliff hanger in Unbecoming, and this sequel brings that cliff into full view.
The character development of Mara is nicely paced – revelations are made as needed. There is no feeling of rush in any way with her character. Readers are left to absorb, to think, to process – and to draw our own conclusions.
That is a strength in this series, allowing readers the pleasure of making their own conclusions (even if they turn out to be wrong later in the plot) and creating their own back stories in their minds. At least, I found myself doing that. You didn’t? Oh well, maybe Mara and I are destined to be friends, even if just on the page.
Do not expect a lot of character development in this novel for anyone other than Mara. She is our subject, and Hodkin does not stray from that. That was refreshing. In a lot of sequels, authors seem to feel the need to introduce new characters with a lot of back story, taking us off track from where we want to be.
In this novel, the secondary characters serve as enhancers to Mara. Did I have questions about those characters? Of course. But again, this goes back to allowing the reader to draw his/her own conclusions. Until the next novel. I’m sure the next novel will unravel any conclusions I came to in this novel.
I am okay with that. A lot.
Of course, what is a good YA novel without a male counterpart? Noah is back, and he plays a prominent role in the plot, but not in the same way he did in Unbecoming. His character truly knows how to stay back and allow a lady to come full circle on her own, and this is what he does for Mara. He is there to love and protect her, but the message is clear – ladies, we have to learn to protect ourselves. Period.
As for the plot development, wow! A friend asked me to describe the plot of this book, and I found myself staring. How do you describe it? So I came up with this: imagine The Bell Jar meets Stephen King. Seriously.
That is all I can say about the plot because it seems as if even a vague example would give something away. I mean, look at the book jacket summary – it’s vague, and yet it’s not at the same time.
On a side note, I learned this week that a few students left a note at one of our teacher’s homes that read “We are watching you” (or something like that). When I heard that, I said, “I would be in a mental hospital. I just finished reading The Evolution of Mara Dyer. Have any of you read that series?” I told them they needed to rectify that immediately so they would understand my comment. And I think I’ve convinced them to (1) not look for my house and (2) not to leave me a note like that. OR…I’ve just encouraged them. They are teenagers after all.
For those wondering if this book is right for you…stop wondering and pick it up. This novel will appeal to a wide-range of readers. If you’re still unsure, visit your library for a copy of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer and go ahead and reserve this one too because you will want to read it.
Have you read and/or reviewed this novel? Leave your thoughts/link below.